Published: 16:00, 13 January 2017
A child star who played Damien in The Omen lost his temper and assaulted two cyclists in a road rage attack.
Harvey Stephens was just four years old when he was chosen to play Damien Thorn in the 1976 film The Omen, the antichrist child who attacked his parents and killed off other characters by suicide or murder.
But it was years later that the former actor lost his temper to such an extent it landed him in court.
One of the victims later told how Harvey Stephens was “in a complete rage like nothing he had ever seen before in his life”.
The 46-year-old was in his Audi RS6 on August last year when he got out and punched Alex Manley and Mark Richardson at Toys Hill, near Westerham.
Maidstone Crown Court heard Mr Manley was cycling up the hill at about 3.40pm when Mr Richardson pulled out to pass him.
As they were side by side Stephens' car came up behind them and repeatedly beeped his horn.
Prosecutor Kieran Brand said Mr Richardson “raised his middle finger” at the driver to show his annoyance. Stephens accelerated heavily to overtake. He then stopped and got out.
“Mr Richardson described him as looking red-faced and angry,” said Mr Brand. “He shouted at both cyclists, asking what the f--- they thought they were doing.
“Both said they were entitled to cycle two abreast in the road and he needed to be more patient. Mr Stephens asked why he had given him the finger.
“He approached Mr Richardson and punched him once in the jaw, causing him to fall off his bike. Mr Manley asked what he thought he was doing.
“He turned and said ‘You want some, do you?’ and punched him twice in the face. He attempted to fight back but he couldn’t because he was astride his bike and wearing cleats on his feet.
“Mr Stephens continued to push him. He fell backwards with the bike still between his legs. He was unable to get up or fight back.
“Mr Stephens held him down and punched him while calling him a c---. He hit him six or seven times in total.”
Mr Manley said Stephens was in a complete rage like nothing he had ever seen and had completely lost control.
Another driver, Matthew Anderson, saw the continuing assault. He got out of his car and shouted to Stephens to stop. Stephens then got into his car and drove off.
Mr Brand said Mr Richardson was treated in hospital for swelling and bruising. A dental assessment showed a “broken tooth root”.
Mr Manley also suffered a damaged tooth and was also receiving ongoing treatment. He also had swelling and bruising to his face.
“This was undoubtedly a serious case of road rage. Quite plainly, it was a sustained attack" - Judge Martin Joy
Stephens, 46, claimed after his arrest that the two cyclists had boxed him in after he stopped, so that he was unable to drive away.
He continued that they were aggressive and he felt outnumbered and in fear. He described how he and the second cyclist “had a proper fight” and he ended up on top of him on the verge.
Mr Richardson told in a victim statement of feeling frustration and annoyance that Stephens “lost his rag” and was unable to control his temper.
He said he now had a permanently loose tooth and felt “really disturbed about what happened”.
Ben Irwin, defending, told the judge: “There is a lot to be said on behalf of Mr Stephens. He has achieved some success in his professional life.
“He knows he stands in a very perilous position,” he said of the father-of-two. “I invite you to say there are sufficient reasons to suspend a period of imprisonment.
“It is clear this is something that was entirely out of character. What began as a relatively innocuous incident between a motorist and cyclists sharing the road turned into something entirely different.
“Mr Stephens would say there was a degree of confrontation that went both ways. It led to the raising of temperatures. He accepts he was behaving poorly.
“He would also say there were harsh words coming at him. He is genuinely remorseful he took that step.”
Mr Irwin said Stephens was an actor as a child but decided it was not what he really wanted to do. He became a futures trader and moved on to other things.
He continued as an entrepreneur running businesses and employing people.
Judge Joy told Stephens: “This was undoubtedly a serious case of road rage. Quite plainly, it was a sustained attack. Quite clearly, there is an ongoing effect on the victims.”
The judge said a probation report indicated there was a continuing risk in relation to Stephens and his behaviour.
“You couldn’t complain if there was an immediate term of imprisonment,” said the judge.
“I have no doubt whatsoever the offence is so serious that a non-custodial sentence cannot be justified.
“The fact you pleaded guilty and do regret these offences is a considerable factor in your favour.”
Stephens, of High Street, Edenbridge, had previously admitted two offences of assault causing actual bodily harm and one of criminal damage.
Appearing at Maidstone Crown Court today, Stephens was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment suspended for two years with 150 hours unpaid work.
The Omen, starring Gregory Peck and Lee Remick, was Stephens' only major film role. He returned briefly to The Omen in a 2006 DVD special features section to play a tabloid journalist.
The married father had his own security firm but is now described as an entrepreneur.
Stephens became best known for the scene in which he cycles on a tricycle, before watching calmly as his mother falls from a balcony.
Judge Martin Joy ordered Stephens to pay his victims £1,000 each compensation for ongoing dental work.
Stephens, of High Street, Edenbridge, was also ordered to pay £120 compensation to one of his victims, Alex Manley for damage to his cycling helmet and £250 prosecution costs.
As part of the sentence he will have to carry out a rehabilitation requirement for 10 to 12 days.